Hello and welcome to my recap of Episode 308 of The L Word: Generation Q, a show that often inspires me to ask the question what is going on?
So… I’ve really tried to keep it mostly positive this season because writing these recaps takes time and I’d like to be happy doing it and I want to maintain an intellectual commitment to the material that enables my brain to remain active as I write. I also know recapping lends itself to nitpicking that isn’t relevant to the casual viewer. And I do mostly like the show! I also adore this cast and I wanna celebrate a program that’s got so much queer representation behind the camera and in front of it. I want the show renewed ’cause I love the community we’ve built around it and I love these characters and also because these recaps get a ton of traffic so it’s good for Business.
But this episode was particularly frustrating ’cause on the one hand, an Emmy to Jacqueline Toboni for an incredible performance in an episode that really gave Finley some meaningful character work and a very satisfying arc. I love how Carrie has rejoined this world and I adored seeing all the characters and the Suarez family come together so organically. Dre and Dani are really cute and it’s fun when Micah gets to do comedy and I’m always here for more Shane/Angie time. It was so well-directed and full of heart.
On the other hand, 308 “Quality Family Time” was often wildly incoherent and the ending was inexcusable (which honestly probably tainted my opinion of the entire episode) and there were no sex scenes and really must we do a relapse storyline and can anybody just acknowledge that there are guidelines around doing amends and so many pieces were put on the board but not played with and Sophie has not gotten enough time this season and where is Gigi and why hasn’t anyone hired me to write a Generation Q Christmas Special???
Okay thanks for listening, let’s see what our little friends are up to this week!
We open at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, where my favorite mother/daughter duo (Carrie and Finley) are working through their respective romantic situations on Thanksgiving Day, a time for friends! Firstly, we learn that Carrie’s yet to ride the hobby horse with Misty ’cause Carrie is demisexual and therefore must wait for a solid emotional connection before she can remove her literal and metaphorical layers. Also, I must note that I am indeed tracking the timeline and it’s only been five days since their first kiss, so!
Secondly, Finley’s face is lighting up while texting in a way that suggests she’s experiencing delight regarding said texts, which Carrie clocks as indicating that perhaps there is some Sophie/Finley sexting going on!
This is enough to keep the flame of hope for #Sinley alive within me for eight more nights, just like the Maccabi warriors. Then Misty shows up ’cause somehow she’s gotten Carrie on board for my girlfriend’s favorite Thanksgiving tradition: waking up incredibly early and running down the street for 5K miles, aka a “Turkey Trot.”
In the backroom, Tess has decided to store her dead mother alongside the high-shelf liquor, so I hope that Shane doesn’t start to feel a little sad and accidentally take a swig of Peppermint Patty.
Finley volunteers to manage The Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern by herself if Tess needs time off to stare at the city from a ledge and cry, but Tess insists that what she truly needs is meaningless tasks to occupy her restless heart. Thus Finely and Tess exit into the clean light of the Dana’s main floor with flower arrangements to find a surprise guest: FINLEY’S MOM.
I have never missed the incredible soundtrack of the original series more than I did this episode — I mean, do you remember it? Do you remember Leonard Cohen and Tegan & Sara and Sleater-Kinney and Nick Cave and The Gossip and Rufus Wainwright and The Murmurs and Joan Armatrading and Lucinda Williams and Le Tigre and Uh Huh Her? The first season finale fading to black and Damien Rice’s and so it is, just like you said it would be sneaking up on your heart and dragging it into a well of sadness? Feist trilling lonely lonely that is me while Jenny and Bette stood side-by-side in their adjacent homes, thick in the mess of their own mistakes? Dana and Alice dancing to a trippy remix of Shirley Bassey’s “Where Do I Begin?” at The Planet after debuting as a couple? Sex scenes to Kinnie Star and Esthero and Broken Social Scene and that song “Swimming Pool” that played through the blackout sex montage and also in my head forever? Shane cutting Jenny’s hair to Iron & Wine?
I mention that now because after Finley’s Mom shows up, the house music starts chanting: yeah I bet you wanna know what happens next and ok calm down everything is so on the nose!
Cut to Dani’s Castle in the Sky, where a very cozy and cute and shippable Dani and Dre are about to bid farewell to each other for the holiday, as Dre’s thrilled to be returning to their homeland of Ohio for a Thanksgiving celebration that involves stuffing made out of Saltines. I’ve also spent probably 20 Thanksgivings in Ohio and I recommend it highly, because there’s always Green Bean Casserole.
Dani, however, would prefer for Dre to take some time for tonsil hockey despite their Lyft being mere minutes away.
“The Lyft can wait five minutes,” says Dani, enemy to the working man.
But then Dre gets ten billion iPhone notifications at once and must check their phone: their flight home has been cancelled!
Elsewhere in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Shane and Angie are getting a speakerphone explanation from Alice about why she’s not in this week’s episode as they proceed to a location on the California University campus where they will be “volunteering at the food bank.”
Alice asks if Tess is joining them on their journey into Upright Citizenry and Shane says Tess is still in Las Vegas, and I’ve got no idea why she’s lying about this!
But then, just over yonder by the way, Angie spots him: Hendrix Fitz, walking with another woman who I hope is not his student.
Angie: Oh my God, fuck, oh my God.
Angie: It’s someone I dated? Briefly?
Shane: Which one?
I’d imagine that this man is still her professor and therefore Angie would’ve been seeing him 2-3 times a week since their breakup, but also last week’s episode took place from November 18th-19th and now it is merely November 24th, so it’s possible she didn’t have her Intro to Creative Writing Class on this shortened vacation week, but regardless it’s not like she can avoid him forever! He’s her professor, a fact which everybody forgets for this entire g-ddamn episode!
Back at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, Mrs. Finley has been left alone in the dining hall and lord knows what she’s getting up to out there. Meanwhile Finley and Tess are in the backroom, processing this turn of events.
Tess says she’s happy to kick Mrs. Finley to the curb, but if there’s anything she’s learned recently, it’s that we really don’t know how much time we have left with anyone. Alternately, we really don’t know how much time we have left with anyone so maybe we shouldn’t be spending it with people who make us feel terrible!
But also — Tess did know her mother had limited time, that’s why she’d been prioritizing spending time together, that’s why she ran MS charity events, that’s part of why she had her mother literally move into her apartment. Grief is complicated and different for everyone, but of everything Tess is grappling with, I can’t imagine “didn’t value the time I had left with my mother” is at the top of her list.
But I am not a therapist, just a writer screaming into the void!
Finley winces and then says, “oh, sweet Tess, I can totally do this,” before ducking outside to “get some air.”
Once Finley’s safely outdoors, Tess pours alcohol into a Go-Cup and starts drinking it.
The house music croons: Maybe I’ll empty the bottle, maybe I’ll be okay. To which I would like to say: NOBODY IS OK!
Like… must we? Must we do another relapse? ‘Cause also there’s nothing Tess does in this episode that she couldn’t have done sober! She’s perfectly capable of giving bad advice without a drop to drink, we’ve seen it before!
Back outside, Finley’s decided to pair “getting some air” with “calling Sophie,” who she asks to come to the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern ASAP — Sophie hesitates ’cause her whole adorable loving family’s over and they’re already elbows-deep in prep… but when Finley reveals that her Mom just turned up, Sophie changes her mind.
Sophie delivers the news to her family: everybody’s going to the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern to support Finley!
Maribel wants to know why Sophie and Finley are still talking to each other if they broke up and Virginia and Nana make a private $20 bet that Sophie and Finley are getting back together. Keep the hope alive, fam!
Maribel: I’m not spending Thanksgiving with her or her terrible fucking mother.
Sophie: You know what, yes you are! And you know why? Because you’re my beautiful gorgeous loving so good to people sister queen of this earth.
Micah: That’s good.
Sophie: Because you know it’s the right thing to do, okay? Not everybody has a family like yours, you’re fucking fortunate.
Micah agrees that it’s the right thing to do as a friend, but needs something to “take the edge off” and Sophie promptly hands him a tin of weed gummies and he asks how many he should take and she suggests that he take one and he promptly eats THREE OF THEM? This man has certainly encountered marijuana before! What … is going on…
Left alone in the kitchen, Maribel confesses to Nana that her plan for the evening involved proposing to Micah. She shows Nana the ring and then Micah comes back to ask if they’re coming? Nana lowers her hand to prevent Micah from seeing the ring. Micah then picks up the tin of weed gummies that he’d intentionally left behind one calendar minute earlier.
He then exits again, and now … the ring is gone? Is Nana a magician? Nana and Maribel decide that it must have somehow landed in the mashed potatoes and then acquired sentient powers enabling it to burrow itself deep into the heart of this side dish and therefore they’re taking the potatoes with them? To look for the ring? Again I must simply just ask… what… is going on
We then cut to Dani’s Castle in the Sky, where Dani apparently is not a Delta SkyTeam Elite Platinum Diamond SkyLounge Codemember ’cause neither she nor Dre are able to secure a viable flight back to the Hinterlands, but great news: Dani has Saltines and just like Mrs Dalloway they are going to make the stuffing themselves!
We return to the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern, where Mrs. Finley is upset that the Thanksgiving Menu is pre-fixe instead of a la carte, and also reveals that apparently she made a reservation for Thanksgiving at the Dana Fairbanks Memorial Tavern about a week ago and somehow Finley did not take notice of this. I’m guessing nobody wrote it down ’cause if you’re coming solo you can just simply sit at the bar but sure okay.
Mrs. Finley has been calling Finley but Finley did not pick up! “How is that supposed to make me feel?” Mrs. Finley asks, regarding Finley not answering the phone. Finley has to admit that it would not make Mrs. Finley feel great. This woman is mean and I hate her and feel sad for Finley!
Out in the gorgeous November sunshine, Carrie and Misty are power-walking through the Turkey Trot when Carrie’s co-worker ambles up to the duo and asks Carrie if this is the famous Tina! You know, Tina Kennard. From Toronto. Who broke up with Carrie 17 months ago? Carrie gently reminds this man that Tina is old news and now she’s got a new girlfriend, Misty!
“I’d love to tell you that he’s not always like that, but he is,” Carrie offers Misty after he exits stage left. Misty looks uncomfortable and declares an intention to pick up the pace and then does so, leaving Carrie to attempt to run, an activity she has previously condemned.